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Anthem: Everything we know

From romancing players to PvP

BioWare/Electronic Arts

BioWare’s upcoming action RPG, Anthem, was the star of EA’s keynote at E3 2018 — and we learned a few interesting details about the game.

BioWare’s Casey Hudson, Mark Darrah, and Cathleen Rootsaert answered questions about the game, focusing on the story. People will play characters known as Freelancers who must defend their civilization against some troubling disasters, including an approaching storm and a rivalry with a group of people known as the Dominion. Players will pilot exosuits referred to as javelins, and embark on massive missions with friends around the open-world game.

There’s still a lot we don’t know, but EA Play’s spotlight on Anthem did answer a few more questions, including whether or not players will be able to romance other characters in the game.

Here’s everything we know about Anthem.

What is Anthem?

Anthem is an open-world action role-playing game set in a futuristic world where humanity is on the verge of collapse. Players take the role of characters known as Freelancers, who are sent on missions where they’ll interact with other players, collect resources and take on enemy combatants. The goal is to defend the Anthem from both the impending storm and the Dominion, protecting the world they know. Players belong to different settlements, where they can interact with other people. The settlement shown in the EA Play 2018 demo was Fort Tarsis.

Is there just one story?

Anthem will have weekly stories, according to BioWare’s Casey Hudson. Hudson likened the game’s narrative to an HBO series when it comes to narrative design.

Who are the Dominion?

The Dominion are a group of people who are working toward one disastrous, common goal: turning an item called the Anthem of Creation into one of the world’s most powerful weapons. They represent the very end of civilization, and it’s up to Anthem players to stop them from creating the weapon they so desperately seek.

What gear will I have? What are these ‘javelins’?

Anthem players will use exoskeleton suits called javelins to navigate around the world, go on missions and participate in combat. There are four different types of javelins: Ranger, Storm, Colossus and Interceptor. Each suit gives players different abilities, and can be used for different purposes; it all depends on what you need the suit to do. The Storm suit is great for heavy combat situations, whereas the Ranger is an all-purpose suit that’s probably best for exploring cool caves.

Mark Darrah, an executive producer at BioWare, reiterated that players are not their suits, encouraging people to switch up their costumes as needed.

Do I have to play co-op with other people?

Nope! These concerns were specifically addressed in the keynote presentation: The BioWare team confirmed that players will have the option to play the entire game solo if they wish.

Anthem gameplay - using exosuit jetpack BioWare/Electronic Arts

What does a mission look like?

BioWare showed off one mission during EA Play. The demo focused on a mission wherein four players banded together to find the source of a deadly poison and fix the problem. The mission put each player in a different suit, where they used the javelins’ unique abilities to carry out the task as efficiently as possible. The Freelancers encountered a series of dangerous, nasty-looking monsters along the way, and explored different parts of a forested environment.

What do the monsters look like?

We only saw one type of creature in the demo. BioWare referred to the beasts as Scars. Scars are dangerous creatures that attack Freelancers while they’re on missions. They linger outside of Fort Tarsis, a human settlement. There are probably a number of ways to destroy Scars, but the demo showcased all four players using their different abilities — like throwing frost grenades and opening fire — to finish them off.

What kind of weapons can I use?

It’s difficult to get specific, but we saw a number of weapons being used during the demo. There were traditional, sci-fi-looking guns, as well as grenades and other weapons that players in javelins were able to equip while on a mission.

Can I fight other players — is there a PvP option?

Competitive multiplayer will not be available at launch, according to Darrah. Casey Hudson later said the game will not have PvP at all, and focus on PvE entirely.

Anthem - forests and mountains at night BioWare/Electronic Arts

What does the game look like?

This may be a stupid answer, but big. It’s big, and incorporates quite a few different settings that players will be able to explore. There are forest-heavy areas, caverns and secret underwater caves that people will have access to when they’re exploring. A few examples can be seen below:

Let’s get to the most important question: Can I romance anyone?

Unfortunately, you can’t romance characters in the game, unlike in BioWare series like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Anthem’s lead producer, Mike Gamble, told Game Informer that although there are friendships, there won’t be any romancing options. This is unlikely to change in the future, too.

“There are no romances,” Gamble said. “There are friendships. Some of the stuff we did with Mass Effect — the Citadel DLC specifically — there was a lot of friendship moments. You and Garrus sitting up, shooting — that kind of stuff, we want to lean into that. The romantic stuff, we’re moving away from that for Anthem.”

Will Anthem have loot boxes? Or in-game currency?

The development team also addressed in the panel. Players will have the option to make in-game purchases, but they will only be for cosmetic items. There won’t be any loot boxes in Anthem.

When is Anthem’s release date?

Anthem is set to launch Feb. 22, 2019.

What can I play it on?

Anthem will be released on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.